There are many thoughts that come to mind when you think about birds and possible dangers in your home. Probably the first ones most people think of are open doors or windows, ceiling fans, cats and other animals as well as many others.
But did you know that out of the almost 7 million bird-owning households in the U.S. that claim an estimated 19 million pet birds, many owners are completely unaware of one of the most deadly dangers in their home? It's polytetraflouethylene (PTFE) and it is most commonly known by the brand name Teflon. But there are many other brand names that are also polytetraflouethylene. Some of these are Silverstone, Duracote, Resistal, Fluron, Supra, Autograph and T-Fal, as well as many others.
PTFE is odorless and invisible. It travels through the air unnoticed and can kill birds in just minutes. Toxic fumes can travel through an entire house very quickly. Lung damage caused from overheated non-stick cookware is irreversible causing a very painful death to birds. In cases of "Teflon Toxicosis", the lungs of exposed birds hemorrhage and fill with fluid, leading to suffocation. It is an agonizing death for the bird.
Avian veterinarians have known for years that Teflon and other non-stick cookware can produce fumes that are highly toxic to birds. Most non-stick cookware carries no warning label and many bird owners unknowingly put their birds at risk because they are unaware of the dangers of using products that have a non-stick coating while housing a bird in their home.
Another misconception people have is that PTFE is only dangerous if the pan burns. It was originally thought that cookware had to be heated to a temperature above 500 degrees before it would emit the deadly fumes. Recently, temperatures as low as 285 degrees have been found to be fatal to birds.
According to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG), in two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year.
In new tests, conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736 degrees in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated.
The danger of PTFE lurks in many other products besides cookware.
Some Products That Use Polytetraflouethylene:
- Nonstick Cookware
- Never-Stick Stainless Steel
- Heat Lamps and Bulbs
- Ironing Board Covers
- Portable Heaters
- Self-Cleaning Ovens
- Stovetop Burners and Drip Pans
- Broiler Pans
- Griddles Pans and Skillets
- Pizza Pans
- Cookie Sheets
- Hot air popcorn poppers
- Coffee Makers
- Waffle Irons
- Deep Fryers
- Crock Pots
- Roasting Pans
- Cake Pans and Molds
- Curling Irons
- Hair Dryers